According to the National Health and Examination Survey from the years 1999 to 2002, there could be a link between the ingestion of pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables and the development of diabetes. The study was funded by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the chief researcher was one Duk Hee Lee, MD, PhD. Dr. Lee and her colleagues began with the premise that low-level exposure to certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is thought to be associated with pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions. Over the three-year period of the study, the researchers found that there were indeed striking relationships between concentrations of six POPs in pesticides and the prevalence of diabetes. They concluded that this association could offer a compelling challenge to future research.

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POPs have become a widespread global problem because their toxicity tends to persist in the environment through the food supply. These pollutants accumulate in animal tissues through animal feed and fruits and vegetables that have been treated with certain chemical pesticides.


Similar chemicals in different concentrations in occupational and accidental settings have without question increased the risk of diabetes and/or insulin resistance. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has also added Type-2 diabetes to the list of diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical containing dioxin. However, whether similar associations exist in the general population with lifetime exposure to very low doses of similar chemicals is unknown. What is known is that everyone in the population has some exposure to these toxic substances, and that long-term exposure may predispose some individuals to insulin resistance and diabetes.


With this in mind, if you have other diabetes risks, such as a family history of diabetes, advanced age, or excessive sugar lifelong sugar intake, you should definitely try to avoid produce that has been sprayed with chemical pesticides. Finding organically-grown, pesticide-free produce is becoming easier and less expensive all the time. Google “all-natural produce” or “pesticide-free fruits and vegetables” along with your city, and many choices will appear before your eyes.


Type-2 Diabetes is just one of several largely-preventable diseases that are exacerbated by long-term exposure to certain man-made chemicals. The chemicals in nonorganic pesticides are pervasive in the food supply; until they are eliminated or phased out in favour of natural insect deterrents, the best thing you can do is to find a reliable source of organically-grown, pesticide-free produce.



William K. Ferro is a freelance writer who lives and works in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. He specializes in holistic health and wellness.